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Innovation and Collaboration: The Unfulfilled Potential of Curaçao's Knowledge Zone

Innovation and Collaboration: The Unfulfilled Potential of Curaçao's Knowledge Zone

May 27, 2024

It has been well over ten years since I proposed the creation of a new economic sector for Curaçao based on innovation, the so-called Knowledge Zone Curaçao. This innovation was to be driven by cross-sector collaboration, with the university as the beating heart and ICT connectivity as the nervous system. It was more than just a vision. The university, in collaboration with UTS, secured the fastest internet connection on the island. Convincing UTS was no easy feat, but at least it was achieved. Another small success was the student discount for flights with InselAir. However, efforts like persuading ABC Busbedrijf to allow students to travel for free during off-peak hours on the route to Otrobanda were unsuccessful. The old SEHOS could have been converted into student flats, a potential that still remains untapped.

The Kzone was envisioned as a knowledge center for innovation for Caribbean Small Island Developing States. We had already secured two UNESCO Chairs towards this goal. Unfortunately, most people never understood the significance of these achievements.

The idea was barely understood and considered, but the originator was quickly sidelined. A few years ago, a group of economists consulted a retiree from Brain Port Eindhoven, who explained the concept. I pointed out that this idea had been conceived years earlier but was never implemented. Even after that, discussions about the Brain Port remained silent. Meanwhile, Curaçao has become extremely dependent on tourism, and the island's carrying capacity for tourism has been reached.

The good news is that all the pieces are still in place to develop the Kzone. The key is a bit of collaboration. However, I am unsure if the reasons for our lack of embrace have disappeared. Curaçao is the result of our collective thinking and actions. It's time for us to come together and make this vision a reality.

In this context, it is essential to remember that dissent is a cornerstone of democracy. It allows us to question and critique actions and policies, striving for justice and humanity. The recognition of the Kzone's potential and the importance of proactive engagement and collaboration is a positive step. We must continue to voice our ideas and work together, even when faced with challenges. Through open dialogue and collective effort, we can foster a future that values innovation and the well-being of all. The time for action is now.

Miguel Goede

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